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Avoiding Workplace Injuries and Protecting Your Rights as an Employee


An injury at work can be devastating for you and your family. Despite major strides reducing workplace injuries and deaths in the past four decades, more than 4,500 workers still die each year. Another 4.1 million are seriously injured at work. Thousands more suffer from debilitating illnesses due to exposure to workplace conditions.

For this reason, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), which carries out the Federal Occupational Safety & Health Act, is continuing efforts to create worker injury and illness prevention programs across the country. In Oklahoma, the Department of Labor has created a Worker’s Compensation Premium Reduction Program. This program provides an opportunity for employers to earn a reduction in workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Before an employer can obtain the certification, they must have a health and safety survey by the department, correct identified hazards, and maintain an effective occupational safety and health management program. However, employers cannot always be relied on to comply with relevant laws regarding workplace safety.

Although there are many aspects of the work environment an employee cannot control, there are some ways workers can ensure their own safety. Always use the safety equipment and protective gear provided by your employer, even if it is commonplace for other workers not to use it. If you suspect there is a hazardous condition at your workplace — or if safety equipment is absent — ask your employer to fix it. If an employer refuses, you can report your concerns to OSHA.

If you have been injured on the job, you might be entitled to additional compensation if your employer was not in compliance with state and federal laws regarding workplace safety. Consult an experienced worker’s compensation attorney to assess your particular case and obtain the skilled guidance you need.